Just how likely are you to come down with a cold or the flu this season? The U.S. routinely sees epidemic levels of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 36 states had already reported widespread activity by the end of last December. Each year, on average, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, according to the CDC Foundation, costing an estimated $10.4 billion a year in direct medical expenses and an additional $16.3 billion in lost earnings.
But take heart — a regular case of flu usually resolves itself in three to seven days, though symptoms like a cough and fatigue may linger longer.
Here are eight ways that make prioritizing winter wellness easier, and may help avoid colds and the flu this season (or to feel better if you’re already in the throes):
1. Stay warm, well and rested: If you’re not feeling your best and you have a cold, make rest a priority. Keep NyQuil Severe at an arm’s reach so you can calm your cough and get the sleep you need.
2. Prepare your body for air travel: Many people travel over the winter holidays but flying can be uncomfortable for some when sick. The air pressure from the plane may affect your cold symptoms so don’t forget to pack a decongestant or cold medication, like DayQuil Severe or NyQuil Severe, in your suitcase.
3. Drink more water than you think you need: Drinking multiple glasses of water per day may help prevent viruses and bacteria from latching on to your body once you’re exposed to them. Mucus can help block germs out of your body. If you don’t hydrate often, the mucus dries up and doesn’t work as it should.
4. Prevent scaly, dry hands: It’s important to wash your hands to kill germs, but sometimes it takes a toll on delicate skin. Try wipe-off, soap-free cleansers and alcohol-free hand sanitizers—they tend to be less drying than traditional soap and water.
5. Get (and keep) moving: Staying active is a great way to avoid the cold and flu. Try fun physical activities like ice skating or go for a brisk walk. Regular exercise offers multiple benefits, like boosting your immune system, managing weight and taking care of your body.
6. Disinfect everything: It’s imperative that women clean makeup tools with cleaner, especially their lipsticks or lip balm. Disinfect your cell phones with a sanitizing wipe—remember that you’re constantly touching it and putting it to your face.
7. Use tissues when you sneeze or cough: Spare your loved ones from catching your germs. Be sure to equip each room in the house with a box of tissues.
8. Say no to stress. Stress can influence the symptoms of cold, cough and flu by interfering with how the immune system functions. To keep your immune system strong, make sure to get plenty of rest and sleep all the time, not just when you’re sick.
By taking precautions against colds and the flu, and taking care of yourself with the best remedies available, you have a better chance at navigating this season in comfort.
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